Dozer, the Bulldog

Dozer, the Bulldog
Feeling the "Bern"

Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae
No time for gates...

Ollie Mac

Ollie Mac
My cooking assistant

Ollie and Annie

Ollie and Annie
Azorean grandmother


38 years on this mountain, come May 31st...



Papa and Ollie Mac

Papa and Ollie Mac
Priorities, Baby


Annie, my Sweetest of Apple Blossoms

My first portrait

My first portrait
"Mr. Farmer"

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

Monday, July 27, 2015

Red, Red Wine

I told the first part of the story in “Smile for the Camera, Mark,” of how we got booted out of a motel in Eureka because I had the unmitigated gall to smoke cannabis around the block behind the windowless motel, back in an alley where all evil-doers do their nasty deeds. (

Red, Red Wine

“I don’t get it. What did we do wrong? Why did Dave tell us we have to leave?” I asked the question of Annie who looked stricken. For a woman who has been through a lot in the past couple of years with rock solid equanimity, she seemed to be unduly struggling. On the other hand, we had never been thrown out of a motel, either.

“They said they smelled cannabis when they came into the room.” Annie shrugged her shoulders.

“Well, if they smelled anything, it was the Altoids tin with my four joints in it. Besides, why were they in our room? I specifically told housekeeping that we were good.”

“I don’t know. But Dave is furious.” Dave was the manager of the motel.

“And we have to leave? Well, that suits me fine; I don’t want to stay here anyway.”

“Well, no, he said we could stay tonight since we have already paid for it, but I don’t know...” Her voice trailed off.

“Well, I do. I know I am so out of here, I can’t believe I am still standing here talking about it. What do you say?”

I guess being together going on thirty-five years makes us pretty well-tuned into each other’s thought-process.

That put some life back into her face and it took us less than ten minutes to complete our packing. I know it was fast because in our haste to get it together, Annie placed the mostly-full bottle of wine that we had opened the previous night after dinner, into a brown paper bag with the cork not completely inserted into the neck of the bottle.

Red wine.  

You see, the wine came with one of those hard plastic corks and Annie had been unable to get it put back in. That’s man's work because it requires a set of hands that still function normally. Annie’s hands have betrayed her in recent times, due to the effects of her illness. I should have checked it but in my haste to get out of there, I just went for all the marbles.

Of course, when it spilled all over the bed comforter, it wasn’t really that bad because the comforter was also wine-colored. And if you believe that, I have a bridge you may be interested in purchasing. 

I had come back into the room after taking a first load of luggage out to the truck and gathered up another armload, including the brown paper bag with the wine in it. In reaching over the bed to snag another item, the bottle of wine became parallel with the bed, and the pressure of its contents propelled that cork out and most of the wine with it. 

I knew something was wrong. 

Liquid was spewing out everywhere. 

Huh. Maybe I better pause...

Poor Annie simply melted down, right there in front of me, silently, as though she had just lost her bulldog. 

“Wine doesn’t come out,” she moaned.

She was speaking English but I needed a translation.

“Are you ready?”

“We can’t just leave.”

“Of course we can. Just watch.”

Annie stared at me balefully. 

She won. 

I said to her, “I would rather you didn’t go back in and talk to Dave. I just want to leave.”

What I did not tell her was that in that hectic ten minutes that we spent packing, I had not only taken some luggage to the truck, I had also “popped” into the office to ask the proprietor one question.

Dave’s white mane snapped up as I opened the office door, with its noisy ensemble of jingling bells and whistles. Thoughts of whiplash drifted innocently through my thoughts.

Just as quickly, his face plummeted downward, intently studying the latest edition of "Medieval Motels." Literally. I thought he was going to end up with his forehead on the counter.

“I have just one question for you, Dave.” I had spoken quietly, but had paused just for an instant, before I said “Dave.”

“Why did you enter the room in our absence when I specifically asked that you not?”

His eyes remained fastened on the 'zine in front of him as he mumbled, “I’m not sure.”

Whatever he was expecting, and I imagined he had seen much as a motel operator in Eureka, he was not expecting calm and he was not expecting to have to answer questions.

Just as quickly, his bravado surfaced. “Did you put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door?” Damn. Got me on a technicality.

“No. Instead I spoked directly to housekeeping, face to face, and requested that she not expend the energy to either wash our towels nor clean the room and she agreed.”

“I smelled marijuana in your room.” Finally. 

“I never smoked in the room. As you well know from your camera, I went back in the alley.”

“I can’t have marijuana in my motel.” Of course not. Drugs. I get it.

“That’s fine. We won’t be back.”

The entire conversation took less than a minute and was quite civil.

What I couldn’t do, was explain about Annie’s cancer and my bipolarism. Though Annie cannot tolerate the THC component, she relies on the CBD plants to help her combat her kidney cancer and her thyroid cancer. Before cannabis entered the picture, she was losing the battle. Now she is at least presenting an offense and we are holding our breath.

I, on the other hand, do require the THC. I don’t think of it as getting high, because I stopped getting high ages ago. I simply maintain a certain level of THC content in my body, and I am good to go.

I tried edibles three summers ago and they were tasty. I made my own gluten-free oatmeal cookies and they were awesome. Far too awesome because there was no way to determine the THC level. Studies indicated that I could be getting as much as ten times the normal dose because the oil I made from the flowers of the plants, was quite potent.

Coincidentally, or maybe related in some way, I was also exhibiting the classic symptoms of a mood spectrum disorder, and the cookies magnified my illness. Now I stick to the bong unless I am traveling.

Though I feel getting asked to leave a motel for smoking cannabis is kind of funny, in a comical sort of way, the reality is, it’s a sick joke. Not one patron of the motel was aware of my actions because I was respectful enough to leave the facility’s premises and walk around the block, but that didn’t matter. The security camera in the alley was all that mattered.

Now, as we faced off over the spilt wine, Annie and I came to an impasse. She could not leave without revealing what had occurred, and I could not leave without her. She walked out of the room.

She found the perfect vehicle when she came face-to-face with the same housekeeping woman who had been a part of the whole affair from the beginning. This poor gal had been present when Dave had reamed Annie in the lobby in front of the motorcyclists.

Seconds later Annie was back and we were in the truck and heading out. The woman had assured Annie that it was no big deal and that she would take care of it. It would not cost anything. I had suspected that at some point in time, it was quite possible that someone else had done the same thing-spilled wine on the “wine-colored” comforter...

Luckily, there are other establishments in Eureka and if nothing else, I have learned a valuable lesson. As much as my own sheltered existence in my home community allows me certain freedoms, those same freedoms do not extend to the real world.

You would have thought I had figured that out by now, but then again, the time is coming. 

Besides, I feel reasonably confident that Dave is fighting a losing battle protecting his patrons against the evil weed of Reefer Madness notoriety.

Is not Eureka in Humboldt County?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Smile for the Camera, Mark

Smile for the Camera, Mark

Well, it happened again. I got in trouble for smoking cannabis. Sigh. Considering I am 62 years old, and have been indulging since 1969, you would think I might have figured out a thing or two. It just goes to show the law of averages is bound to catch up at some point in time.

This time it got poor Annie [and me] tossed out of a motel in Eureka.

Good Buddha. I have been in motels countless times (including the occasion under discussion) when folks in the same establishment committed acts far more egregious, than going around the back of the building and taking a few rips off of a fatty.

I had already been sleeping for quite some time the first [and only, as it turned out] night we were there, when two events occurred more or less simultaneously. Annie says a woman who had been out in front of our room smoking a cigarette, got loud and obnoxious. Imagine that.

Right on top of that, came some sort of car alarm issue, this one more than ample enough to jar me out of my sleep. That was 11:15 and after tossing and turning until three AM or so, I gave up, got up, and did a piece of writing. Did that person, who must have awakened every patron of the motel, get the boot?

We had come up to make a run to Klamath, to do a little shopping, and to stroll around Old Town and check out the junk shops. We usually stay in the same spot, primarily because of the proximity of the best breakfast joint in town, The Chalet, and it is convenient. It does not have CSNBA, so I cannot get the Giants games on TV, but I have managed to cope. Besides, the Giants only play six-er, uh, seven-months of the season.

Now, it’s no secret that I was diagnosed in 2012 as having a mood spectrum disorder, what old-schoolers would call being bipolar. Having tried what corporate ‘Merica has to offer in the way of medication, and having been repulsed by the side effects, I have found that cannabis allows me to function “normally,” whatever that means, and so every few hours I must take my “meds.”

I would never have considered indulging within the room, simply because it was expressly forbidden and comes with a $200 fine, so I would walk down the sidewalk, and around the back of the half-block long edifice, and down an alley. This thruway intersects two windowless buildings, so that there is no one (except the security camera) to view my actions.

Which is evidently what happened, because as we came back from breakfast Friday morning, and I strolled out back to take care of business, Dave the proprietor was awaiting my return on the corner closest to the re-entry sidewalk to my room.

I greeted him with my usual, “The top of the morning to you,” but he gave no indication he had heard me. I guess maybe the top of the morning was a bit of a stretch for Dave that particular Friday morning. He was about to bring our day down as well. 

As we prepared to go out walking, a knock came on the door and a voice identifying herself as housekeeping, asked if we needed anything. I opened the door and told her we were good to go, and that she need not clean our room. 

Annie and I traipsed off to do our walk along the beautiful Hikshari trail but when we returned, imagine our surprise to find that our keys no longer opened the door to our room. Annie made a quick jog over to the office, but was gone far longer than what it might have seemed the amount of time required to take care of a simple logistical function.

There were three touring motorcycles, which had just pulled up and were disbursing the riders outside the office, so there was some noise and confusion; I attributed the delay to the cyclists. I had my nose in a book and was clueless. Odd, I know.

Then Annie was back and she was trying to convey information, but she was struggling. We managed to make our way back into the room, where she informed me that we had been told we had to leave the motel because of my transgressions.

We had been given the boot.

Oh, the ignominy of it all.

To be continued...